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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Plant-Microbe Interfaces

Date: Sep 13, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8808 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Plant-Microbe Interfaces (PMI) Scientific Focus Area (, Molecular and Cellular Imaging Group in the Biosciences Division, Biological and Environmental System Sciences Directorate (BESSED) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


A major focus of the PMI project is to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity and functioning of mutually beneficial interactions between plants and microbes.  Plants are host to a diverse microbial community that resides within and on plant tissues. This complex community likely benefits plant health and biomass productivity in the face of changing soil and environmental conditions. A key research emphasis within the project is on metabolic and molecular understandings of plant-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions in these complex ecosystems. To support this effort, an interdisciplinary group focuses on microbial isolation from rhizosphere samples, physiological characterization, image analysis, comparative genomics, plant-microbe model system development and experimentation for understanding molecular mechanisms of microbe-microbe and plant-microbe interactions that influence microbial community structure and host plant physiology and phenotypes. The PMI SFA project is seeking a post-doctoral researcher to support these interdisciplinary efforts in the development and characterization of constructed microbial communities.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct collaborative scientific research on constructed microbial communities and related signaling and secondary metabolite characterization using systems comprised of defined microbial community members.
  • Lead and contribute to the preparation of scientific manuscripts.
  • Present research findings at national and international scientific meetings.
  • Work independently to support interdisciplinary research efforts within the Plant-Microbe Interfaces project.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, or a related scientific discipline. Applicants cannot have received the most recent degree more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following areas is desirable: microbiology, plant-microbe interactions, natural product discovery and characterization, comparative genomics, bioinformatics, flux balance analysis. Priority will be given to candidates that have demonstrated the application of their experience and these techniques to the characterization of plant microbe and/or microbial community systems.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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